Meditating Mama

A little over a year ago, I signed up for my first formal meditation course through the city.  It was my first experience outside of reading countless texts about meditation and doing my best on my own and with meditation CDs, but it was only a 2 hour course and the end of the class left me wanting more.  I wasn’t sure where to go from there, so I continued to read more books on the subject and work on it on my own when time allowed, but it’s not easy to find quiet meditation time in a home with a 3 or 4 year old boy.  My “practice” was not happening as frequently as I’d liked.

Then, obviously, I had some other things on my plate, with a pregnancy that left me exhaused, nauseated and not interested in anything but sleep.

Now that Sophie has joined us, I resumed my search for some place that could provide me with more direction and first-hand knowledge from a yogi and not simply from print on a page.  I found a place online that is right here in the city and didn’t look as daunting and full of the unknown as some of the other meditation places I’d seen on websites.

I signed right up, and a few weeks ago I went to my first Sunday night class.

The second my instructor opened her mouth, I thought it was exactly as I would have chosen for my first experience in the yoga meditation arena.   I would seriously pay money just to hear her speak.  She is so soothing and welcoming and wonderful!

I’m a few weeks in, now, and my meditations are already deepening, along with my understanding of pranayama (breath work), what meditation is all about, and how to incorporate it in to my own life.  All of this led me to seek out a mala, or Tibetan prayer beads.  They really just help focus the mind and give you something to do with your fingers while you recite your mantra of choice or do your breathing exercises.

I ended up at a Tibetan store  not far from home and when I walked in the door, I was surprised to see a tiny little Tibetan woman in full robe attire and smiling broadly.  I said “hi” and quickly walked past to begin my search for my mala.

She ended up joining me, and sort of took over the hunt for me, navigating me through the malas made from lotus seeds, ones made of sandalwood, which she held to my nose saying “Smell!  It’s nice, yes?”  Her English was quite limited and she said she’d have someone else help me, but I felt drawn to her and I told her to stay, assuring her that I trusted her judgement and I could understand her just fine.

She finally picked up a beautiful pink mala and told me it was made from real stones and was similar to one of her own.  She told me, as she struggled with the words to share her story, that she had lost hers a few months ago at a bus stop.  She was broken hearted as the mala was made from stones and turquoise from her mom.  She motioned with her hand to her face as she said “I cried and cried” and traced the tears that would have fallen down her cheeks.  She told me that she’d tried to make a sign for the bus stop but can’t write well in English and was sure that no one would understand what she was trying to convey.  Then a man came along and asked how he could help and he, in her words “made a big, beautiful sign for her that said ‘Tibetan nun lost prayer beads'”.  One month later, someone called her and returned her beads.  Beads, not only from her mother, but ones she’s used since she became a nun, at the age of 12.  I was so taken with this tiny little woman that I had to refrain from hugging her on the spot.  My understanding is that you are really not supposed to ever actually touch a Tibetan monk or nun, so I just smiled and told her I’d take the mala that she chose for me.

She walked to another display and picked out a beautiful, hand-stitched bag for me and dropped the mala inside of it, telling me that she’d give the bag to me to keep for free.  I smiled again, and nodded a thank you as she reached in to the bag, drew out the mala again and bowed her head as she recited something too quietly for me to hear.  Then she handed me the bag without saying a word.  I inquired as to what that had meant and she said “I prayed 8 beads with a prayer for you.  You pray the other 100 and whatever you need will come to you in abundance.”   I actually teared up.  It was such a beautiful and unexpected moment in time.  I left the store reflecting on my luck at having interacted with her, and knowing that after the kids were in bed that night, I’d pray that other 100 beads and part of my request for good things would be directed right back at her.

April 2

Really, any story of how Sophie made her arrival should begin earlier in the week.  I will never know if it was the stress of the week or just the fact that it was late March, but I came down with a horrible “I can’t breathe at all” kinda cold on Monday.  Sophie was scheduled to make her planned C-section arrival on Friday morning.  I thought that if I quarantined myself in my bedroom, humidifier on full blast and getting as much sleep as I could, that perhaps I could get over the cold by Friday.  (wishful thinking)

By Thursday afternoon I wasn’t sure if I just wanted the baby to come on her own (labor when you can’t breathe can’t be easy) or if I wanted to call the doctor in the hopes that she would tell me that we’d absolutely have to reschedule for a later date.  I finally called.  Her nurse informed me that unless I had a “good” fever, we were still on.  I wasn’t sure if I should cheer or sob hysterically.

Thursday night I tried to get a good night’s sleep.  As good as you can get when you know ahead of time that you are about to be sliced wide open in the early a.m.  It didn’t work.

Friday morning, Doug and I groggily drove to the hospital to finally meet our daughter.  As we arrived at Labor and Delivery, we heard “Twinkle, twinkle little star” faintly playing at the the check in desk.  After commenting, the nurse at the station told us that every time a baby is born in their labor and delivery department, they play a short snippet of the song over the loud speakers.  That was enough to get me excited again…and pannicked.

They checked us in to a waiting room where they would monitor my blood pressure and heart rate, and we would meet a never-ending stream of professionals who would be there to help us to the finish line, and the chance to see our little girl’s face.  First a multitude of nurses, then some residents, some more nurses, then the anesthesiologist, his resident, and then finally, Dr. O, my Ob-gyn. 

During all of this, I was truly starting to freak out.  My heart rate was all over the place and my main nurse told me to try to relax because I was tachychardic, which means my heart rate was racing.  Later, she would continually refer to me as “tacky” which for some reason never failed to make me crack up.  I’ve been called a lot of things in my many years here, but to my knowledge, never “tacky”.  At least not to my face.

Dr. O.  finally made her second appearance and said it was “go” time.  They slapped some slippers on my feet and I walked my way to the operating room. 

Now, walking to an operating room on your own is scary.  Scary as hell.  Hopping up on the actual operating room table…well, that brings it to a whole new dimension.  As I heaved my hugely pregnant self up on to the table, I asked Dr. O. if I could still change my mind.  She said “Sure you can!  You can go home and wait to go in to labor, cross your fingers that your labor progresses, and then likely meet me right back here in the OR under emergency conditions.”  Huh.  Well, when ya put it that way, Dr. O….let’s get going!

The surgery began after the resident anesthesiologist finally got my spinal block going, and they went and got D.Jones to join me by my side.  The actual procedure lasted maybe an hour or so, but who was counting!?  All I could focus on was hearing that baby wail.  And she did.  Sophie Ann Jones entered the world not quite as p.o.’d as her brother did, but close.  Believe me….she made her presence known.  Prior to this, though, I did hear Dr. O. exclaim during surgery that the babe was bigger than she’d thought, and yelled for someone to get her a stool to stand on.  Good Lord.  Like that won’t get my heart rate soaring.  And shortly after, that was topped off by the anesthesiologist rushing to my side and saying “Hang on, Kristin…you are going to feel some major tugging!”  Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy~

Truth be told, though, the surgery went way smooth and before I knew it, I was in a recovery room holding my girl and feeling actually pretty good!

After about another hour, they wheeled me up a floor to my room and the drama I call “Bright Lights, Cold Table” was behind me…and I got this:

Actual Conversation

On Saturday I said “hi” to our neighbors as we were loading the kids in the car to run some errands and go grab some dinner.   I said “looks like you got good weather for your housewarming party after all” to which she replied “Yes!  And please stop over.  Oh wait…Brian said that you might be out of town?”

I just smiled and got in the car.  As we drove away this actual conversation occurred:

Me:  “So, why would she think we were going out of town?”

D.Jones:  “Well, I told them that so we’d have an excuse if we didn’t want to stop by their party.”

Me:  “Um.  Well.  We live about 5 feet from them.  They can see us.”

D.Jones:  (laughing) “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Huh.  Not the best excuse, huh?”

___________________________________________

On that note…I’m back.  Not from out of town in some faraway land where your next door neighbors can’t see you because you’re invisible, but instead, simply back from my blogging hiatus.  A hiatus that has included a ridiculous lack of sleep, too many changes of newborn diapers to count, and happiness and joy beyond words.  That’s right.  As you could probably already tell from my “countdown to baby Jones” counter, that shows that I am now 53 weeks pregnant (God, what a nightmare to even consider!), our baby girl has arrived (as of April 2).

She is absolutely the most precious, beautiful baby girl ever, and I have actually been enjoying every moment since her arrival.  I’ve got so much to tell you all!  To start with, I’ve been so neglectful of my blogging that she already looks like this:

and this:

I’ll start from the beginning very soon.  In the meantime, my little girl needs a bottle.  See.  This is why I’ve been gone so long.